Kenora’s Kenon Builders builds out digital presence to champion wins
Over the past 25 years, Kenora’s Kenon Builders has grown from a small, residentially focused general contractor to an industry leader tackling large-scale commercial projects.
The company has added designated divisions for everything from plumbing to electrical work to keep services in-house and increase continuity in its projects. As an Indigenous-owned and operated business, a substantial part of Kenon Builders’ has been involved in high-profile infrastructure projects within First Nations communities.
But recently, the business realized it needed to be championing those wins. So they started to pull together an online portfolio to showcase their work.
“A website was always something that was on the radar,” says Ashley Massey, a project manager at Kenon Builders. Massey spearheaded the business's digital transformation. “We decided it was time.”
To amplify the general contractor’s digital presence, Massey leveraged Digital Main Street, a program combining grants and one-to-one support from the Province of Ontario alongside partners to help main street businesses strengthen their online capabilities and plan for the digital future.
“I knew the funding would be the push that we needed to actually move forward with a website,” says Massey. She applied for the $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant and received it alongside some digital training.
She says the business had been using Facebook sparingly but otherwise had no virtual presence. Mostly, clients had come through referrals and word of mouth. But a website felt like an important way to market the business. “One of the first things people do when they hear about a business is they go and see if you exist online,” says Massey. In an industry like construction where reputation is especially important, having that presence can help bolster your track record and make you more attractive to new clients.
She also saw investing in a website as a way to bring fresh talent to work for the company. “We have a meet the team section on there and I think that's really important,” she says. “It’s nice to read about the people that you're going to be working with.”
Massey says she waded into the idea of building a digital presence with only a rough idea of how to do so. Working with Digital Main Street helped her refine that vision.
“When I was doing the training, I just thought this is so valuable… everything is set out for you in a logical plan,” she says. “For someone without a digital presence, it really highlighted the different avenues you could take.”
Going forward, the business plans to increase visibility and continue to highlight its projects with its website.
As a community builder, Massey says she feels fortunate to have access to programs like Digital Main Street.
“It’s so helpful to have something available like that to businesses in this part of Ontario,” she says. “Sometimes knowing that you have a little bit of extra help or support or resources is just the impetus that you need to move forward with something.”
To learn more about Kenon Builders and their work, you can visit their website here, and check them out on social media.
To learn more about Digital Main Street's programs and how we can help your business visit here.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Meta, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, Lightspeed, Ebay and Canada Post.
Continued investment from the Province of Ontario, through the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) has allowed the ongoing expansion the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses going digital across Ontario.